People with psychosocial disability hang in limbo ahead of the NDIS review

Posted 8 months ago by David McManus
Advocates have expressed their concerns about the Government’s plan to divert people with psychosocial disability away from the National Disability Insurance Scheme. [Source: Shutterstock]
Advocates have expressed their concerns about the Government’s plan to divert people with psychosocial disability away from the National Disability Insurance Scheme. [Source: Shutterstock]

Although many Australians live with mental illnesses not covered by the NDIS, advocates fear that people with psychosocial disability will be further deprived of support following the NDIS Review, due to be handed down in October of 2023.

Key points:

  • In April, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced that the growth target for the NDIS would be set at eight percent by 2026
  • In June, NDIS Minister Bill Shorten had expressed that the Federal Budget’s target to reduce the number of NDIS participants could be met by diverting people with psychosocial disability to other avenues for support
  • The NDIS Review will be delivered this month to determine how the Scheme could be reformed


As many as 27,000 National Disability Insurance Scheme participants with psychosocial disability may be diverted to other forms of support following the NDIS Review, which will be delivered this month.

Advocates have slammed the reports, as the Government has sought to meet an eight growth reduction target for the Scheme by 2026.

Rachel Green, chief executive officer of SANE — the leading national mental health organisation for people with complex issues and trauma, has urged the Government to consult with consumers before adjusting funding for support.

An open letter from SANE Australia stated that support can be difficult to access and this is particularly the case for non-physical disabilities:

For people with a lifelong psychosocial disability, access to the NDIS can be life-changing. With psychosocial support, people impacted by significant or complex mental health can lead productive, meaningful and contributing lives. The fight to be included in the Scheme when it was established was a significant win for equity and human rights.

So, it is unclear why this group are being targeted particularly for reductions from the Scheme, before we have had [the] sufficient opportunity as a community with diverse perspectives on possible solutions to be properly counted or involved. We would be very concerned if disabilities involving mental health are [sic] treated differently to physical or sensory disabilities.

It seems premature to be talking of targeting reductions, before we have any information on what the alternative is. It’s not surprising that those relying on psychosocial support and their families who support them are worried.

We know that the NDIS has not worked entirely the way it was meant to. It is clear that reform is needed. However, removing future access for a vulnerable group of people without first designing the alternative is not the right way forward […] SANE strongly urges the Australian Government to listen carefully to those with lived experience and bring them into any discussions involving [the] redesign of services

According to the 2020 Productivity Commission report on psychosocial disability, 154,000 Australians are already missing out on psychosocial support. However, the range of mental health and psychosocial disability support services covered by the NDIS is already limited.

Of the estimated 600,000 Australians who live with severe and persistent mental illness, only 64,000 are eligible for the NDIS.

For more information on mental health, psychosocial disability and accessing support, please refer to the Disability Support Guides for ‘Mental health and the NDIS’ and ‘Disabilities not supported by the NDIS.’


How do you believe the NDIS can cut costs and support people with psychosocial disability? Let the team at Tallking Disability know your thoughts!